From Braces to Breast Cancer

From Braces to Breast Cancer

A typical pair of Coral Springs Middle School students, Kathy Berk and Denyse Fier met when they were both 14. Thy attended Taravella High School together, graduating and moving on to different colleges, but all the while remaining close and connected. Though it’s been more than 30 years since their first meeting, Denyse says, “Kathy and I have shared so much of our lives together. We have been very close through all of the years – no matter what curve balls have come our way.”

Kathy is equally complimentary of her childhood friend. She says, “Denying and I immediately formed a friendship like no other. I moved away for several years once I got married and our friendship only blossomed more. Denyse is like my sister. She is ALWAYS there for me and my family no matter what the issue at hand is. I can call her anytime of the day or night and she will come running.”

Kathy underscores her point when she talks about her battle with infertility and how Denyse, an RN, MSN, helped her get through trying to conceive her children for so many years. Kathy continues, “She would give me injection after injection, night after night, week after week and month after month. She accompanied me on my doctor visits and unselfishly gave up her time every day, sometimes at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning to give me the injection I needed to go through Invitro fertilization with my husband.”

And then, things changed ….Kathy says, “The day I got a call from Denyse telling me that she had breast cancer, my first thought was that this could not be happening to my friend that I have had for a lifetime. My next thought was, she is a fighter and she is the strongest person I know. The months after her diagnosis were extremely painful for Denyse, but for me as well. I sat by her bedside bringing her strawberry milkshakes (the only thing that seemed to have the least bit of taste) and was with her during her chemo treatments. She was surrounded by so many friends who love her!”

Denyse’s huge battle included a double mastectomy. With so many friends encouraging her, she began the fundraising effort we know today as Not My Daughter…find a cure now! Denyse tells us, “Kathy is a very special person, a true friend, someone I can ALWAYS count on! She is always giving, never expecting anything in return. We have gone from braces to breast cancer together.” From the trials and tribulations of high school, through different colleges, to weddings, children and every step in between. Denyse (now Hostig) and Kathy (now Sherbal) have the shared history to joke that they have “turned into their mothers” and the strength of a lifelong bond that takes them through to the next generation.

Through organizational and fundraising efforts, these two strong women (together with dozens of others who have joined their mission) are working to ensure that their children have a future filled with promise and hope for an end to breast cancer. Kathy feels blessed to have had a friend like Denyse for most of her life. “Denyse’s nature is always helping others.,” she says. “That is why she turned the fight of her life into creating Not My Daughter….find a cure now! We will fight the fight together until we find a cure for this awful disease so that it does not affect our own children.”